E.A. Sports Today

Seventh heav’n

Fite wins record seventh Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational title, lead flips on 16th hole

Gary Wigington tries to lift a shot from the bottom of the hill on the crucial 16th hole Sunday. On the cover, Freeman Fite holds the trophy after winning the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational for a record seventh time.

Gary Wigington tries to lift a shot from the bottom of the hill on the crucial 16th hole Sunday. On the cover, Freeman Fite holds the trophy after winning the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational for a record seventh time.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The sixteenth hole has been a pivotal stop in many a tournament at Anniston Country Club, and it was again Sunday.

The challenging uphill par-3 proved to be the turning point as Freeman Fite won his record seventh Wilfred Galbraith Invitational by two shots over former Sunny King Charity Classic partner Gary Wigington.

Fite and Wigington made the turn tied for the lead and passed it back and forth throughout the back nine. Wigington came to the 143-yard one-shotter with a one-shot lead, but Fite made par to Wigington’s double bogey and never gave up the lead.

“It’s got to be up there (among the most crucial holes in the round),” Fite said. “Really, the last five or six are all you want.

“With the (16th) green, the way it is (now), really, to me — I know a lot of people might disagree – it’s so much harder. Before it was two-tiered, it was more of a turtleback and you could kind of bail over here to the right and the putt’s not going to be that bad. But (Sunday) that was one of the hardest two-putts you’ll see.”

The putt was part of the story, but it was the approach that created the most drama. On the pivotal hole, Wigington hit a crisp 9-iron, but as the ball reached its apex, the wind freshened and a gust knocked it to the bottom of the hill.

Fite said he hadn’t seen the wind swirl and gust on the course as much as it did these three days of the tournament — everywhere, not just at 16 — and he thought about it all day. He was going to hit more club when it was his turn anyway, but Wigington’s tee ball falling short sealed the decision.

Wigington’s first attempt to reach the green with an L-wedge fell short and rolled back to him. He hit his second attempt to six feet and then two-putted for the double. Fite parred the hole to grab the lead for good.

“Sixteen was the killer,” Wigington said. “It’s bad when you hit a good shot and make a double bogey. I would’ve felt better if I hit it fat or something.”

Fite shot a final-round 69 and finished at 4-under 206. Wigington shot 73 and finished at 208. Defending tournament champion Jeremy McGatha finished third overall (212). Former ACC pro Kevin Daugherty was fourth (213).

Even though he had the lead, Fite couldn’t relax on the final two holes.

Wigington reached the 17th green in two and made birdie – but so did Fite. On 18, Wigington drove it left and had his access to the green blocked by trees. After Fite hit the green with his second shot, “Twig” tried to create a shot and caught a limb that effectively ended his chances.

He punched a shot through the green, chipped back past the hole onto the collar and made the putt. Fite’s birdie putt curled toward the hole and he tapped in for the win.

“I’ve never been so tired, I don’t think; it was a long, long day,” Fite said. “I really played well today. I did well today to stay (focused). Those three holes in a row (13, 14, 15) were pretty disappointing and to come in and play the last three in 1-under was pretty good.”

Fite broke the Invitational wins record he shared with ACC legend Chris Banister. It was his fourth win in the tournament since his return to golf in 2010.

“After I had quit for a few years and came back and started playing again and I won a couple and I realized I was close, then it became a goal to get past seven or more,” Fite said. “A lot of good luck, a lot of good fortune to win it seven times.

“Mr. Banister was a great guy. I only knew him as an older gentleman, but I had always heard stories that even then he was a really good player.”

At Anniston Country Club

Championship A
Freeman Fite 69-68-69—206
Gary Wigington 65-70-73—208
Kevin Daugherty 70-72-71—213
Ty Cole 72-71-72—215
Chandler Wilborn 67-74-77—218
Dustin Travis 68-75-76—219
Ott Chandler 73-73-74—220
Chad Calvert 71-73-77—221
Dalton Chandler 69-71-83—223
Billy Thompson 70-80-78—228

Championship B
Jeremy McGatha 73-69-70—212
Scott Martin 74-75-71—220
Lewis Lecroy 73-72-75—220
Jacob Lecroy 74-75-75—224
Caleb McKinney 74-79-72—225
Janson Wilborn 75-75-75—225
Chad Reavis 75-74-82—231
Erich Egui 75-77-82—234
Dr. Victor Kyatt 73-79-WD
Jeremy Willis 73-78-WD

Championship C
Cypress Hathorn 77-74-71—222
David Lawrence 77-75-76—228
Ryan Huff 76-76-77—229
Jake Goggans 77-74-78—229
David Sanders 76-73-85—234
Matt Rogers 76-82-78—236
Hank Smith 77-85-77—239
Dan Griffin 76-82-81—239
Dan McClellan 77-78-85—240
Timmy Woodard 76-92-82—250
Kyle Daugherty 76-91-86—253

Players A
Jonathan Pate 76-71—147
Chip Howell 72-76—148
Jeff Borrelli 77-71—148
Adrian Geeting 76-73—149
Landon Straub 75-76—151
Casey Harmon 72-79—151
Kenneth Patterson 71-81—152
Gary Wilborn 74-78—152
Rob Svensen 77-75—152
Chris Cox 77-76—153
Hunter Brown 76-77—153
Kenny Wright 71-85—156
Jack Svensen 75-81—156
Brian Woodfin 75-83—158
Chase Thomas 77-81—158
Ross Svensen 77-87—164

Players B
Michael Downey 80-73—153
Richard Turner 80-74—154
Austin Minter 81-80—161
Luke Armstrong 83-81—164
Mike Little 82-83—165
Rick Taylor 82-83—165
Allen Mangham 84-82—166
David Coffey 81-87—168
Trey Stone 84-84—168
Jerry Kemp 82-88—170
Daily Thomas 81-94—175
Michael Travis 84-96—180

Players C
Eric Stringer 87-81—168
Tom Roberts 86-83—169
Greg Shultz 89-81—170
Jono Waugh 86-84—170
Chris Weaver 90-83—173
Charlie Smith 86-88—174
John Lindsey 87-90—177
Heath Waldrop 89-89—178
Chance Harris 88-90—178
Haden Downey 91-87—178
Dale Burgess 86-97—183
Don Whitlow 88-95—183
Jimmy Jackson 92-97—189
Jerry Boozer 97-97—194
Evan Jackson 109-105—214


Championship 444 334 444 34 453 444 354 36 70
Freeman Fite 444 334 444 34 343 545 344 35 69
G. Wigington 454 334 544 36 344 444 545 37 73
J. McGatha 344 234 444 32 444 444 356 38 70
Kv. Daugherty 444 334 444 34 444 444 445 37 71

Name Total

Gary Wigington 645
Chad Calvert 642.5
Dalton Chandler 637.5
Ty Cole 602.5
Caleb McKinney 537.5
Jeremy McGatha 502.5
Kevin Daugherty 475
Lewis Lecroy 455
Ott Chandler 435
Billy Thompson 427.5
Matt Rogers 417.5
Scott Martin 407.5
Jacob Lecroy 400
Janson Wilborn 390
David Lawrence 385
Andrew Brooks 355
Cypress Hathorn 337.5
Chad Reavis 320
Dustin Travis 315
Lance Evans 312.5
Kyle Daugherty 310
Dan Griffin 310
Jonathan Pate 305
Clay Calkins 280
Adrian Geeting 277.5
Brandon Roberts 260
Kenny Wright 225
Caleb Bowen 220
Daily Thomas 212.5
Casey Harmon 192.5
Chip Howell 190
Brad Crowe 180
Jeff Borrelli 147.5
Austin Minter 145
Jeremy Willis 142.5
Nick Pollard 125
Jono Waugh 125
Luke Armstrong 125
Jimbo Phillips 115
Kelly Rogers 110
Landon Straub 82.5
Brad Hardin 75

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